Metlink, a public transport journey planner for Greater Wellington in New Zealand, has proposed a new Accessibility Action Plan to improve access for those with mobility impairments across its network.
The plan, presented to regional councillors at the meeting of the Transport Committee [17 August], outlines valuable insights into the initiatives, which are designed to make the transport network accessible for all.
Thomas Nash, transport chair for Greater Wellington, said: “Our public transport system was not designed to be accessible for all people and fixing that is not only a legal requirement, it’s just the right thing to do.
“We have a collective responsibility to ensure our public transport system is accessible to all and allows disabled people to exercise their rights just like everyone else.”
The presentation of the plan follows the council’s unanimous adoption of Metlink’s accessibility charter in 2021, and outlines network wide strategies to improve accessibility.
From physical infrastructure enhancements to more accessible digital tools and staff training, the plan encompasses a wide range of initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive travel experience for passengers.
Previously, Greater Wellington Council unanimously adopted Metlink’s accessibility charter in 2021, and outlined network wide strategies to improve accessibility.
The plan builds on physical infrastructure enhancements to more accessible digital tools and staff training, encompassing a wide range of initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers and creating a more seamless travel experience.
Nash continued: “This plan outlines a roadmap for us to deliver tangible enhancements for our region’s disability community. It also acts as a fundable package of activities for inclusion in our Long Term Plan and Regional Land Transport Plan.”
To better understand the needs of the community, during the development of the new plan Metlink reportedly spent 12 months engaging with mobility-impaired individuals, advocates and frontline staff, as well as the council’s own advisory group.
“Officers were very deliberate with this engagement, with a guiding principle of ‘nothing about us without us,” added Bonnie Parfitt, network and customer senior manager at Metlink.
“The plan’s insights from those who will benefit directly from its programme of work are critical.”
Further planned initiatives, with some set to begin from as early as 2024, include an accessibility training programme, awareness of hidden disabilities and stop and station accessibility improvements.